Amazing Esme

illus. by Michael Fowkes. 176p. illus. Hodder. 2014. pap. $6.99. ISBN 9780340999936; ebk. ISBN 9781444905335.
Gr 2–4—Esme has never been to school. She has been raised in a circus by her performer parents. When she goes to the country to spend the summer in her cousins' castle, she is in for an adventure. The castle is full of amazing animals that her uncle rescued from all over the world, including a pig with a unicorn horn. This story is full of fantastical creatures, delicious breakfast food, and silly incidents. Young readers will enjoy Esme and her cousins' antics. There is plenty of mischief as they try to get a group of freshly hatched penguins into a pond by building a slide from the tall tower. The illustrations are reminiscent of those by Quentin Blake in Roald Dahl's books, adding a bit of fun. The text is simple enough for emerging readers while offering plenty of new words to strengthen vocabulary. This amusing new series will engage children who love silly stories and animals.—Kris Hickey, Columbus Metropolitan Library, OH

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